Here’s my latest article on This Week in Sarasota. Hope you enjoy it.
Let me know what you think and if you’d like to join me on my next Open Mic excursion.
This week gave me the chance to make the fourth stop on my local tour of the Open Mic scene abuzz in our fair town.
This journey began four months ago as a personal exploration of the questions:
- What kind of function do open mics play in our local community for its economy, musicians and music-lovers?
- What is the unique flavor of each open mic happening across Sarasota?
So far, I’ve checked out the scenes brewing on the North Trail on Tuesdays at Growler’s Pub; out east at the old-Florida, impressively intergenerational open mics on Mondays atJ.R.’s Old Packinghouse Cafe (the longest-running in Sarasota). I also forayed outside of the “open mic” category to experience the Bee Ridge Park Jam.
So far, themes are emerging. Open mics are an important space of interaction where novice musicians gain experience and confidence, where experienced musicians try out new material and where all levels find connections that help them move forward with their music. People also find friends, release and relaxation, and a sense of community.
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When Wednesday night rolled around last week, I made my way by foot through the Gillespie Park neighborhood down to Main Street. As I approached the warm yellow lighting of Pastry Art, I thought about how this place has enchanted me from my first step through its glass doors; I sensed a buzz of welcome, interaction, comfort and familiarity that I came to learn is generated every day by the flow of folks who come regularly. It’s a great “third place” in our community, and I’d been looking forward to visiting the open mic here to sample its specific “flavor.”